Cargill: to buy AWB Commodity Management Business

Melbourne / AU. (cg) Cargill Australia Limited confirmed that Agrium Inc. has accepted its offer to buy the grain commodities business it recently acquired from its purchase of AWB. Agrium bought AWB Limited on 03 December 2010 and is selling only the AWB Commodity Management business to Cargill. The sales agreement is subject to various regulatory approvals.

The acquisition will include the former AWB grain marketing and pool operations, international grain trading businesses, grain distribution and storage assets as well as other international operations. Cargill aims to receive regulatory approval and complete the acquisition in the first half of 2011. «AWB´s grain businesses are a great fit with Cargill Australia´s existing grain and commodity trading operations. It helps us meet growing food demand in Asia and around the world, while continuing to give the highest level of customer service to our Australian customers», said Ralph Selwood, Managing Director, Cargill Australia.

«The combined business should accelerate Cargill´s growth and provide value for Australian growers. We are also very keen to have the high level talent and expertise of AWB Commodity Management business added to our own operations», said Selwood. «Cargill is committed to marketing Australian farm products for the benefit of all Australian growers. Our overall goal is to provide competitive returns through access to global markets and tools to manage price risk. We want to preserve existing pool options and enhance future pools with new tools for growers».

Cargill has been in Australia since 1967 and employs some 1’500 people in Australia and New Zealand. It operates five manufacturing and processing plants and twelve grower field offices in regional and rural Australia. In addition to grain accumulation and trading, Cargill has investments in Australia that include beef processing, food ingredients and food manufacturing and flour milling.

Selwood: «Combining the AWB Commodity Management business with Cargill Australia should provide substantial benefits to Australian growers. First, it will provide growers with innovative tools to help them manage fluctuations in commodity prices and, in turn, help them manage their cash flow. Second, Cargill´s expertise and knowledge in shipping large volumes of commodities should make Australian grain more competitive in more markets. Third, with the combination of AWB´s existing market expertise and Cargill´s global presence and customer relationships with major grain importers and food companies, Australian grain growers will have broad access to international markets and greater opportunity to increase returns. Cargill Australia has made a long-term commitment to the future growth of Australian agriculture. We look forward to adding the skills of the AWB team to our business for the benefit of the Australian grower community».

About: Agrium Inc. is a major retail supplier of agricultural products and services in North America, South America and Australia and a leading global producer and marketer of agricultural nutrients and industrial products. Agrium produces and markets three primary groups of nutrients: nitrogen, phosphate and potash as well as controlled release fertilizers and micronutrients. Agrium´s strategy is to grow through incremental expansion of its existing operations and acquisitions as well as the development, commercialization and marketing of new products and international opportunities.

About: Cargill Australia Limited was established in 1967 to serve the country´s large grain export industry and has since extended its involvement into several other agricultural and industrial areas. These areas include oilseed and meat processing, grain and oilseed storage and flour milling. Cargill Australia headquarters is located in Melbourne.